Section 4. Safety and Security Measures

Site: Extension Foundation Online Campus
Course: Farm Security
Book: Section 4. Safety and Security Measures
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Date: Friday, April 12, 2024, 9:30 PM


Safety and Security Measures

Electronic Security

Do you have barns, equipment, chemicals or other materials that are easily accessible? Learn how to make them more secure by taking additional security measures in Section 4.

Electronic security devices can help protect your farm, but the cost Farm at sunrise
can only be justified if they have been recommended as a result of a credible security assessment. Your insurance agent and local law enforcement can make recommendations to help you determine your needs. Some types of electronic systems and devices are well suited for farmsteads.
  • Electronic card access controls, rather than keyed locks, can be used to restrict access where valuables are stored. They can record the date and time of entry and the specific card used to gain entry, identifying the person whose card was used.
  • Video surveillance systems consist of cameras, monitors, and recorders. The most effective use of video is to combine it with devices such as motion sensors that detect an intrusion. A motion sensor triggers an alarm and activates the video recorder in the area where the motion is detected.
  • Digital recordings are more efficient and effective than traditional audio tape recordings because they record images as well as sound and the tapes can be viewed selectively. A digital recorder is a computer that allows the user to retrieve and view video selectively by date and time of recording.
  • Alarms can be activated by the opening of doors, windows, gates, lids, etc. and can be monitored at the farm or at approved, off-site alarm monitoring stations. When alarm signals are transmitted to a monitoring station, personnel follow pre-established protocols, which usually include calling the police. In addition to signaling a monitoring station, an activated alarm might trigger lights and sirens and/or place an automatic call to your cell phone.

Using Lighting for Safety and Security

Adequate lighting in the right places is important to the safety and Farm at sunrise
security of your family, your employees, and your property. Proper lighting can also enhance the efficiency of your operation.

Lighting dark areas may deter vandals and other criminals. Strategically placed lights will also allow you to safely check on your facilities or livestock at night, and to work after dark when necessary.

Determine which facilities need to be well-lighted and which may require minimal security lighting. Your insurance agent or sheriff's office may be able to help you decide where lighting would be most effective and what type to purchase.

  • Light critical assets such as fuel tanks, grain bins, and chemical storage areas.
  • Consider using glare lighting as a deterrent. It can blind intruders, making it difficult for them to see who or what is in their vicinity.
  • Put exterior lights on motion sensors or control them with photocells that turn them on and off according to the amount of natural light available. Manual switches and timers are less effective.

Abide by local light pollution standards in your area.

Farm Chemicals

All pesticide farm chemicals should be stored Farm at sunrisein a secured area. Access should be limited to trained personnel.

Unauthorized access can range from a curious child to intentional trespass with the intent to steal or cause damage. Risks to health, the environment, and your business are obvious. Keep in mind that in many areas of the country, fertilizer is stolen for the purpose of producing illegal drugs.

Responders to an emergency on your premises need to know where pesticides and other farm chemicals are stored. You can help them by centralizing your chemical inventory. Store everything in one isolated, fire-resistant (e.g., concrete block) building that is secured against theft and acts of vandalism and terrorism. Clearly mark the location on your farm map so that responders can tell exactly where your chemicals are stored. Emergency dispatchers should have your chemical storage location and your farm emergency response plan on file and readily available to police, fire, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Centralized storage also allows you and firefighters the option of letting the building burn (versus putting water on it) to minimize contamination of adjacent areas.

Always return surplus pesticides to their designated storage areas. No exceptions.

Farm Chemicals Continued

Always read the pesticide label for specific storage requirements. Farm at sunrise
The chemical and the container in which it was purchased must be maintained in good condition. This is necessary to ensure that the material remains useful and to avoid environmental or human health hazards. Your pesticide storage area should meet the following requirements:
  • Easy to lock
  • Well-ventilated
  • Properly lighted when in use
  • Dry - protected from flooding and high humidity
  • Protected from extreme heat and freezing
  • Spacious enough to allow for separation of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers, if all these types of materials are to be stored
  • Enclosed in such a manner that leaks and/or spills can be contained and cleaned without compromising the soil and water quality in the vicinity

Also be sure to properly manage the chemical storage area.

  • Cleanup materials (absorbents, water) must be readily available.
  • Keep chemicals in their original containers with a legible product label attached.
  • Do not store chemicals with or near food, medicine, or cleaning supplies.
  • Do not store chemicals with or near seed or animal feed.
  • Organize products in storage so they are accessible and visible.
  • Mark all containers with the date of purchase. Keep an inventory and use older chemicals first.
  • Routinely inspect your storage area. Check containers for damage or leaks.
  • Dispose of unwanted or outdated material according to the label recommendations.
  • Flammable materials, such as fuels and paints, should be stored at a low level and away from other materials, so they can be effectively cleaned up if spilled. Special storage cabinets made for flammable materials can be used to store these materials safely and without creating a fire hazard within your structure.

Storing Veterinary Medicines

Veterinary medicines should be protected from changes in temperature, sunlight, dust, moisture, animals, and insects.  Store medications in a clean, dry frost-free area. A farm office or utility room may be your most ideal location.  

Use a clean refrigerator to organize and store drugs requiring refrigeration. 

Check product labels for information on

  • storage temperature
  • light sensitivity
  • expiration date

and store accordingly.

Discard expired products as recommended by the product manufacturer. Secure the storage units to prevent access by unauthorized individuals.

First Aid Kits

Well-stocked first aid kits should be kept in places accessible Farm at sunrise
to employees and other personnel.

You can purchase first aid kits at many drugstores or assemble your own. Contents of a first aid kit might include:

  • Adhesive tape
  • Aluminum finger splints
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic solution or towelettes
  • Bandages, including a roll of elastic wrap and bandage strips in assorted sizes
  • Instant cold packs
  • Cotton balls and cotton-tipped swabs
  • Disposable latex or synthetic gloves, at least two pair
  • Gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
  • Eye goggles
  • Petroleum jelly or other lubricant
  • Plastic bags for the disposal of contaminated materials
  • Safety pins in assorted sizes
  • Save-A-Tooth storage device containing salt solution and a travel case
  • Scissors, tweezers and a needle
  • Soap or instant hand sanitizer
  • Sterile eyewash, such as a saline solution
  • Thermometer
  • Triangular bandage
  • Medications such as pain relievers and personal medications
  • Activated charcoal (use only if instructed by your poison control center)
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Over-the-counter oral antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream
  • If prescribed by your doctor, drugs to treat an allergic attack, such as an auto-injector of epinephrine )
  • Syringe, medicine cup or spoon
  • Small, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries
  • Candles and matches
  • Sunscreen
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • First-aid instruction manual

Store all medications according to manufacturer's specifications. Check your first aid kits regularly, at least every three months, to be sure the flashlight batteries work and to replace supplies that have expired.

Fire Protection

Fire is one of the most common farm emergencies.Farm at sunrise

All buildings, including barns and sheds, should be free of flammable debris (i.e. cobwebs, trash, etc.) to reduce the risk of fire. Fire extinguishers should be placed in strategic locations and easily accessible so you will have one where and when you need it. Extinguishers should be the right size and type to combat electrical, fuel, or structural fires (refer to size and type fact sheet). There are several types of fire extinguishers available, but the best type for home and farm use is a multipurpose ABC type extinguisher.
  • It is a good practice to have at least one ABC type fire extinquisher in all farm buildings and in other areas where there is a risk of fire, such as around grain drying and processing equipment.
  • The farm shop is a particularly fire-prone area due to the types of equipment used. Welders and cutting torches can quickly ignite any combustible material not properly stored. At least one 10-pound ABC extinguisher should be wall mounted in the shop for easy accessibility.
  • Fire extinguishers should also be mounted on tractors, combines, trucks and other equipment. Because most fires associated with these types of equipment are from petroleum products or electrical fires, a five-pound ABC or a BC type extinguisher should be adequate.
  • Inspect your fire extinguishers regularly and keep them charged so that you can be sure that they will perform well when you need them. Be sure your employees and family members know where the fire extinguishers are located and understand how to operate them properly.